While the technical execution required to implement a modern martech stack is complex, it isn’t the most difficult challenge facing marketing departments that have invested in new marketing tools.

That’s the view of Gabrielle Shone, associate director, marketing technology at Optus, who is leading the company’s transition to a ‘next best action’ marketing approach.

“The technical delivery isn’t the hardest part. The hardest part is changing the hearts and minds of people used to a marketing approach focused on lead volume and sales over service and, product before customer,” Shone said during a presentation at Pegaworld in Las Vegas last week.

Optus has deployed the Pegasystems marketing application for communications and media, which identifies the right offer for the right customer during their interactions with Optus, across all channels and in real time.

“Without the customer base of telcos overseas, which we are absolutely jealous of, and the deep pockets of our nearest competitor, we have to be smart about how we spend our marketing dollars. We can’t afford to hire 100 data scientists to ensure insight-driven marketing, nor can we continue with traditional marketing approaches,” Shone said.

After “an extremely rigorous” evaluation process the telco selected Pega as its decisioning tool. The most important lesson Shone and her team have learnt throughout the process is “do not underestimate the change that’s required.”

“I can’t stress this enough — changing from a traditional top down marketing approach where you send leads to an outbound channel and they act on them, to customer-initiated interactions is a significant change. On average we have seen it take about six months of consistent engagement to onboard people to this new way of thinking. It’s completely different conceptually.”

Previously Optus would operate and execute more than 250 individuals campaigns each month, which would run in isolation to each other. Some individual campaigns would generate over two million leads and 95 per cent of sales were attributed to outbound activities.

“In Pega there is no such thing as a campaign, it is strategy based, so instead of creating new campaigns, you leverage your core strategies — which makes sense right? You are actually talking to the strategies that underpin your business and you simply add new highly targeted propositions as you go.”

Optus has enhanced its targeting process with decisioning to simultaneously assess the suitability of each campaign for individual customers, taking into account customer eligibility and customer strategies.

“Creating and socialising a road map is critical. It helps to sell your vision.”

Communicating your vision across the organisation is also an important element of a martech implementation, Shone said.

“If you work in a large organsiation you may find that themes like real-time, personalisation and omnichannel have a lot of attention at the moment,” she said.

“If you don’t get word out about your plans and keep everyone updated, others in your organisation may be trying to do the same things… This not only results in regret spend but it also erodes the benefits that you might have banked on around centralised decisioning and omnichannel.”

The transformation is not limited to your marketing organisation, Shone said. She urged marketers to engage their IT department and make sure they “share the vision and work as partners.”

Shone also emphasised the need to use the right language when discussing the change process with internal stakeholders.

“Change is scary and if you bang on about the change all the time it’s not all that helpful,” she said.

Instead, change leaders should identify specific benefits each marketing, sales or customer service department will enjoy from new systems, rather than focus on the word “change”.

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